What Happens Now

We have the components for both of these systems in house, ready to build, test and review. This will take a couple of weeks, and we’ve chosen a good array of benchmarks to suit most needs while still retaining the focus of the purpose of this round of Build-A-Rig: an $800 back-to-school system. Given the responses from both Silverstone and Crucial, it is clear that Silverstone sees gaming and portability as key factors whereas Crucial have spent more on processing power and fast storage which might be useful in more BTS scenarios. Both systems come with an NVIDIA graphics card, although there is some slight difference here which will also factor into the equation.

We will write up each PC for a full individual review, as well as a build log describing the experience of how the parts fit together. These reviews will be released over the next couple of weeks. We have a new dedicated editor working on each build (Daniel Williams), so any bias coming from doing these interviews is null and void – the reviews will shed light into how building the systems is easy, difficult, or fun to do.

A full run down of both systems is as follows:

Build-A-Rig Round 2 Comparison
Component SilverStone's
Mighty Milo
Crucial's
Ballistix Bantam
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium G3258
(2C/2T, 3.2 GHz)
Intel Core i3-4170
(2C/4T, 3.7 GHz)
Motherboard ASRock
H97M-ITX/ac
GIGABYTE
B85N Phoenix-WiFi
Graphics Cards (GPU) Zotac GeForce GTX 960 OC EVGA GeForce GTX 950
Memory (DRAM) Crucial Ballistix Sport XT
2x4GB DDR3-1600 C9
Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer
2x4GB DDR3-1600 C8
Storage (SSD) Crucial BX100 120GB Crucial MX200 mSATA 250GB
Storage (HDD) Western Digital Blue 2.5-inch
1TB 5400RPM 8MB Cache
 
Seagate Barracuda 3.5-inch
1TB 7200RPM 64MB Cache
Power Supply (PSU) SilverStone ST45SF
450W Bronze SFF
Thermaltake TR2
600W
Chassis SilverStone Milo ML08B-H
(with handle)
Thermaltake Core V1
Extreme Cube
CPU Cooling SilverStone Argon AR06 None
Operating System Microsoft Windows 10 Home
64-bit OEM
Microsoft Windows 8.1
64-bit - OEM
Extras None LG USB 2.0 Portable DVDRW
Total $811.90 $793.90

How to Enter

For Build-A-Rig, we are posting the survey link on each piece so users can enter at any time. The final entry date is listed in the survey, and will most likely be a few days after we post our final round-up later in the month.

For the purposes of the giveaways, we should state that standard AnandTech rules apply. The full set of rules will be given in the survey link, but the overriding implementation is that the giveaways are limited to United States of America (US50), excluding Rhode Island, and winners must be 18 years or older.

With apologies to our many loyal readers outside the US, restricting the giveaways to the US is due to the fact that AnandTech (and more specifically our publisher, Purch) is a US registered company and competition law outside the US is very specific for each nation, with some requiring fees or legal implementations to be valid with various consequences if rules aren’t followed. It’s kind of difficult for the rules of 190+ countries/nations worldwide to all be followed, especially if certain ones demand fees for even offering a contest or tax on prizes. We recognize that other online magazines and companies do offer unrestricted worldwide competitions, but there are specific rules everyone should be following in order to stay on the side of the law. That’s the reality of it, and unfortunately we cannot change on this front, even with the help of Purch.

The survey link is:

http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2382250/AnandTech-Newegg-Build-A-Rig-Challenge-Round-2-Sweepstakes

Your Thoughts

Not everyone builds a system the same way in the same budget, and it’s all fine and well for us here at AnandTech to reel off a parts list but it seems to be great fun for everyone involved when the manufacturers of the components actually do it instead. Clearly there are disagreements to be had over which case to use, whether this SSD is better than that SSD and all sorts of things.

So do you prefer having two extreme items and upgrading over time, or having a general all-around system every few years? Thoughts and comments on the builds from SilverStone and Crucial are highly recommended. If you would take the $800 back-to-school focused build differently (perhaps AMD, or iGPU only, or a true mini-PC, or even just a UX305 laptop), explain why choosing some parts over others would be an important factor in your decision.

Build-A-Rig R2: Crucial’s ‘Ballistix Bantam’
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93 Comments

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  • zero2dash - Wednesday, October 14, 2015 - link

    He didn't need to buy the SS CPU cooler, that's for sure. Plenty of people have OC'd 4.2 with the stock cooler (myself included). Temps don't go above low-60's while stress testing. Sure, a smaller case would maybe be a few degrees warmer, but not enough to necessitate buying aftermarket cooling. You can also OC on boards back to the H81 which are dirt cheap at this point and could have saved a few more bucks as well.

    My issue/question (again) is whether or not the Intel microcode update disables OC'ing or not on the board. My board (H97 Performance), ASRock released a bios update because of the MC update, but that bios update removes the ability to OC. The workaround (instead of updating the bios) is to rename the Intel MC DLL file in Win10 (or refuse the MC update in Win7) and you're fine.
    Reply
  • The0ne - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    Using parts picker, I wonder what the cost differences are vs Newegg. Of course I'm expected to be ban from having said this of Anandtech. Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    What?!?! Reply
  • Batmeat - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    Not sure what you mean??? Both builds are required to be built with components readily available on Newegg. Reply
  • The0ne - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    From the readership there will be some people that will build what is recommended. That means shopping at Newegg and nowhere else. Unfortunate.

    The comment was a cynical, sarcastic joke of Anandtech's relationship with Newegg. Money runs deep so marketing is everything for Newegg. I be careful and wary if I were you. Their hotdeals forum is a fine example or being bought out. Have fun!
    Reply
  • Batmeat - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    Ahhhh. Gotcha. You're right though, Newegg isn't always the best deal and spending a little extra time perusing other retails one can easily save a healthy chunk of change. Reply
  • gamer1000k - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    I like the Crucial build better, for a back to school PC having something well rounded is more important than all-out gaming performance. Also, in my experience I rarely upgrade a computer after building it so I would rather build a solid system I can use for a few years (and then sell it or use it as a secondary PC) and then build an entirely new system.

    There's still a few parts I would change out though. An entry level 960 is only $20 more than the 950, and the 600W PSU is overkill for the system so I would drop down to a 450W PSU and bump the GPU up to a 960.
    Reply
  • Fiernaq - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    Are downgrade rights only available for the Pro editions of Windows? It's been a while since I've installed a Home edition but if they are available then you might as well purchase 10 because you'll be able to install as 10, 8, or 7. All I could find on MS was downgrade rights for Pro: http://www.microsoft.com/OEM/en/licensing/sblicens...

    I am curious to know if the G3258 would bottleneck the SilverStone rig to the point where upgrading the GPU wouldn't benefit the system very much. If it doesn't then I would probably pick that one although possibly with a few minor tweaks such as dropping the HDD in favor of a larger 850 Evo. If it does bottleneck upgrades then I would take the Crucial system and modify it based on the assumption that I would be adding parts within a year.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, October 14, 2015 - link

    "Are downgrade rights only available for the Pro editions of Windows?"

    Yes. It's a Pro-only right.
    Reply
  • Penti - Thursday, October 15, 2015 - link

    Also end users buying Pro-licenses won't be able to downgrade, you need volume license for that or an OEM that provides you with media/key. Reply

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